NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - From high atop his perch above the press box at New Providence High School football field, Marching Band director Michael Niedziejko, ran his annual “Fall Preview” of the new show for the 2017 New Providence Marching Band called “Seas the Day.” On Saturday, all 150 members of the marching band performed for well over 200 spectators made up of community members, family and friends as Niedziejko ran his workshop-style performance on Lieder Field. The Fall Preview is intended to educate spectators as to proper marching technique and the artistic intentions behind this years show.
This yearly event gives the audience a chance to catch a glimpse of what goes into the mammoth undertaking that is the New Providence High School Marching Band. Over and over they went through the show in small “chunks” of their performance. All 300 marching feet were being carefully studied and the cardinal rule surpassing all the others is “Don’t stick out.” And how would you know if you’re not in step with your section? Niedziejko explained at a previous rehearsal, “If you don’t know if it’s you or not, it’s you.”
Each rehearsal is a three-hour devotion to detail set to music. Any marching band alumni who has spent hundreds of hours rehearsing under the lights on Lieder Field is very familiar with this experience. Mr. N, as he is known far and wide at the high school, is firm, respectful, and honest as he both praises and corrects the kids in his beloved band; “Battery, make sure you’re stepping off on the count of seven…Brass, make sure you’re snapping your shoulders all at the same time…Hey flutes and clarinets, your feet during the double-time are unacceptable, you need to make sure your sub-dividing and the left foot is hitting on the beat and the right foot is hitting in between the beats, here we go kids, good luck.” Luck is beside the point, winning back-to-back State and National Championships (2015 and 2016) are the result of these long and meticulous rehearsals. His critiques are candid and specific, but he has also been known to break into singular applause for them when warranted by near perfection.
Niedziejko doles out praise and encouragement as well, “Thank you for your discipline…yep that works…Hey kids, don’t get frustrated here, we’re learning…Be smart, here we go, commit!” He knows the name of all 150 band members and the thousands of former students who have long since graduated from college. His commitment to the performance and the band members is both legendary and reciprocated as many of his most recent graduates have already come back to see him this year.
After the Fall Preview, the band headed to Somerville for their first competition of the season, The 37th Somerville Pioneer Marching Band Competition. They took the field and performed their new show, “Seas the Day.” New Providence placed first in the competition with a score of 87.975, and received the caption awards for Best Color Guard, Best Music, Best Visual and Best Overall Effect.
Next up, the band will travel to MetLife Stadium October 14th to compete in the US Bands Yamaha Cup Competition.